Lake Ouachita Trout Fishing
At this time no Trout are stocked into Lake Ouachita.
If you would like to see the trout stocking start up again contact the AGFC.
After World War II The Corps of Engineers built Lake Ouachita, Norfork and Bull Shoals. Trout fishing was born in Arkansas
The cold tailwaters from the massive dams created ideal habitat for trout. Beaver and Greers Ferry Lake were added in the1960s and joined the other trout fishing opportunities and one of the state’s most successful industries was started.
In 1957 The Norfork National Fish Hatchery was completed. Another federal fish hatchery, constructed below Greers Ferry Dam, raises rainbow and brook trout for the Little Red and other streams in the Ozarks.
Two other trout hatcheries, one federal and one state-operated, are operated near Mammoth Spring. The state Game and Fish Commission facility on Spring River produces 12-inch trout for a unique stocking program unlike any other in the nation.
The combined in-state hatcheries produce over two million trout for Arkansas waters each year, making the program a national leader. Trout are also found in almost 100,000 acres of lake water in the state.
Stocking trout in reservoirs has a checkered history in Arkansas. Starting in the 1960s, the AGFC stocked rainbow trout in Bull Shoals Lake and developed a thriving fishery, said chief of fisheries Mike Armstrong.
The agency also stocked rainbows in lakes Lake Ouachita, Hamilton, Norfork and Greers Ferry.
For various reasons, only Bull Shoals and Hamilton developed a following.
Those experiments failed, and the rainbow experiments at Greers Ferry and Ouachita were discontinued when it became clear that they were producing some unintended consequences.
Emergence of world-class walleye and striped bass fisheries at Greers Ferry and Ouachita, respectively, ended the trout programs at those lakes.
Greers Ferry produced the current world-record walleye in the early 1980s, and Ouachita is still one of the nation’s best lakes for trophy stripers.
One reason those fish got so big was the abundance of stocked rainbow trout.
They’re very nutritious, and high in protein.
“In the case of Greers Ferry and Lake Ouachita, what we ended up doing was feeding walleye and striped bass more than we did anglers,” Armstrong said. “It was kind of a conflict.
Lots of folks, including ourselves, believe that rainbow trout is what drove the trophy walleye fishery in Greers Ferry in the 1980s.
As soon as we quit stocking those fish, we stopped getting the growth rates of 10-plus pound walleye
Because Trout occupy different habitats, the trout living in Lake Ouachita behave different from those of trout in the tailraces.
Anglers accustomed to river-fishing techniques will find their methods completely unsuited to lake fishing.
Essentially, trout behave like any other predator fish. Their main forage is threadfin shad, so you’ll often find trout lurking beneath big schools of baitfish.
To find them, a good electronic graph is essential
Trout usually stay just below the thermocline.
When you find shad anywhere near the thermocline, trout will be right under them.
Once you determine the depth of the thermocline and find baitfish, lake Ouachita rainbow trout are fairly easy to catch. You can also catch them on very basic tackle, which explains their popularity among casual anglers.
When the water gets much warmer than 50 degrees, trout go deep and stay there.